Local history

Activists Call for Revival of Harvey Milk’s Anti-Speculation Proposal

Josh Wolf, San Francisco Public Press — Feb 10 2014 - 5:39pm

Before his death, Supervisor Harvey Milk introduced an “anti-speculation” proposal that would have heavily taxed profits generated by quickly flipping properties in San Francisco. Now Brian Basinger, a housing activist and former president of the nostalgically named Harvey Milk Democratic Club, is pushing for the city to resurrect it. The proposal was one of seven considered at Saturday’s citywide Tenant Convention at the Tenderloin Community School auditorium. Participants were able to rank their preference for various proposals by ballot. The event was the culmination of a series of neighborhood tenant conventions that aimed to generate ideas to solve the city’s affordable housing crisis.

Oakland Zoo removes Ten Commandments monument before atheist group protest

Ruth Tam, SF Public Press — Jul 27 2012 - 2:33pm

After hearing complaints about the Ten Commandments monument in the publicly owned Oakland Zoo, the president of the zoo, Joel Parrot, denied ownership of the monument and had it removed Wednesday. Though a bit delayed — Atheist Advocates of San Francisco dated the first complaint to 2008 — the zoo’s action came just before a scheduled protest on Sunday by a group of Bay Area atheist organizations.

Why smart growth?

Angela Hart, SF Public Press — Jun 14 2012 - 5:26pm

Sprawl is commonplace in the Bay Area — from places like Antioch and Brentwood on the outskirts of Contra Costa County to parts of Santa Clara and Sonoma counties. The pattern emerges from an all-too-familiar suburban formula that for decades earned developers high profits: perfectly manicured lawns, streets that meander around small neighborhood parks and cul-de-sacs at the end of nearly every block. Mixed use is forbidden — businesses are clustered into shopping malls a car trip away. Though the Bay Area started out on a European-style city grid in the era of the horse and buggy, the neighborhoods developed after World War II, after the rise of the automobile industry and interstate highway system, became the American dream.

Leapin' lizards — it's Leap Year again

Michele Anderson, SF Public Press — Jan 23 2012 - 8:58pm

Storifying has come to SF Public Press. From time to time, we will be gleaning the best from social media to  amplify our coverage. This is our first storification: our take on 2012, a Leap Year. We hear from the academics, the artists, the cognescenti on the Mayan apocalypse -- as well as many people in the universe of social media who have expressed an opinion on this unique component of the Gregorian calendar. 

In new film, Tenderloin finds uplift in participatory public artwork

Erica Reder, SF Public Press — May 19 2011 - 6:41pm
Last Friday’s screening of “A Brush With the Tenderloin,” a film by Paige Bierma, revisits the making of an important new neighborhood landmark — a mural that captures the residents who frequent one downtrodden corner. The artist, Mona Caron, worked on the painting for a year. The project became a focal point for the community and a vision for how it might improve its own self-image. 
 

 

Geographies of San Francisco re-imagined

Mineko Brand, SF Public Press — Nov 30 2010 - 2:19pm

Innovative atlas juxtaposes dissimilar items into fanciful maps

On the night that San Francisco Giants fans took to the streets delirious over a World Series championship, a tamer crew of folk including cartographers and poets gathered to mark the release of “Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas.” The collection of fanciful maps of the city combines disparate but creatively juxtaposed items such as World War II shipyards and African-American political and musical landmarks, as drawn together in “Shipyards and Sounds: the Black Bay Area Since World War II.” Other maps are called “Death and Beauty: All of 2008’s Ninety-Nine Murders, Some of 2009’s Monterey Cypresses”; and “Graveyard Shift: The Lost Industrial City of 1960 and the Remnant 6 A.M. Bars.”

Decades after Sonoma ‘Running Fence,’ Christo still making art — and waves

Erin Van Rheenen, Special to SF Public Press — Nov 24 2010 - 11:23am

New documentary examines public battles over revolutionary installation.

Bureaucracy has once again issued a daunting challenge to the art of Christo, this time “Over the River,” his proposed temporary installation of shimmering fabric across the Arkansas River in Colorado. The battle, waged this summer, mirrors one that arose just across the Golden Gate Bridge in the early 1970s, when Christo and his French wife/collaborator, Jeanne-Claude, fought government and naysayers to create “Running Fence.”

Outtakes from the filming of ‘The Running Fence Revisited’

Erin Van Rheenen, Special to SF Public Press — Nov 24 2010 - 11:06am

In September 2009, artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude returned to Northern California for the 33-year anniversary of their “Running Fence” (1976) installation and to film “The Running Fence Revisited” (2010), directed by Wolfram Hissen and sponsored by the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.

During the filming, author Erin Van Rheenen did double duty as both writer and girl Friday for the crew. Between takes she interviewed Jeanne-Claude and Christo — at the Petaluma Denny's, at a reunion picnic and in the car as they traced the route of where the fence had run. She may have been the last to interview Jeanne-Claude, who died suddenly on Nov. 18, 2009, at the age of 74.

The scenes described in the story first appeared in a slightly different form as the program for the documentary’s West Coast premiere back in June.

Restored Depression-era maritime murals recall heyday of public art

Gianmaria Franchini, SF Public Press — Jul 19 2010 - 3:44pm

The Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building at the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park at Beach and Polk streets is emerging from a rehabilitation project with a noticeable facelift. The Bathhouse was built in 1939 by the Works Project Administration and became the park’s Maritime Museum in 1951. The building, which was designed to resemble the bridge of an ocean liner, is teeming with sea-themed art, none more striking that Hilaire Hiler’s “Undersea Life” mural, which has also been restored.

Treasure Island timeline

Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — Jul 6 2010 - 3:08pm

This is a version of the timeline that appeared in the print edition special report on San Francisco's Treasure Island.

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